Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Key To Longevity In Youth… [Err, um ALL] Ministry

It’s said there’s 52 weeks in a calendar year…which accounts for 13 months instead of 12 by the way, but I digress…

So by that count, I’ll be celebrating a rather unique anniversary in the next week or two. The end of July is when I first moved into my own place. Since that time life has been a whirlwind of adventure. Without getting into too much detail, I can in retrospect say there were times when I was so busy I very nearly experienced burnout. I can recall at least three times this past year, if not four, I’ve had to put the breaks on, isolate myself, and recharge my batteries. There’s nothing wrong with that; Jesus modeled it during his ministry.

He directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children. Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone… Matt 14:19-23 NIV

This time, I decided to turn off my phone, lock my door and read through a selection of psalms. I open the book and begin reading the first psalm when my eyes come across this:

His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalm 1:2-3 NIV

In college we were told the longevity and sustainability of your ministry, what ever it may be, is directly connected to your relationship with God. If you’re feeding that relationship by spending time with the Lord in prayer and reading the scriptures, then your ministry will flourish. If that relationship is stagnant, and you’re not including the use of scripture and/or prayer in your daily activity, your ministry will suffer; and even become stagnant itself.

Whenever I read that in a book or heard someone else say that, I would make time to read my bible and pray. Unfortunately it wouldn’t be too long before that discipline would taper off and I’d be doing things in my own strength, treating my prayer and bible reading as a panic button or a glass case containing a fire extinguisher. In case of emergency break glass!

Now that I’m out of college and been in ministry for approximately a year. I can say without a doubt that taking time to nourish your relationship with God is a key to a successful ministry. I would even venture to say any activity suffers if you neglect to “… delight in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

I have to admit though I do feel like a hypocrite saying this as its not something I continually practice. So if you come across this, I would ask that you pray for me. That I would regularly take time to read the word of God and pray, so I don’t experience burnout as much, and can have the strength to face the day for the many moons ahead of me.

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